The Houston Dynamo remained in a tie for second place in the Western Conference and got back above the .500 mark with a 2-0 win over D.C. United Saturday night at Robertson Stadium before a crowd of 24,471.
Second-year midfielder Danny Cruz made the first MLS start of his career and contributed an early goal – his first as a professional – and an assist, while forward Luis Landín had the primary assist on both Houston goals. Goalkeeper Tally Hall, making his first career MLS start, made two saves for the shutout, Houston’s fourth of the season.
Danny Cruz opened the scoring in the 10th minute, as defender Eddie Robinson stepped forward and fed Luis Landín at the top of the box. Landín played a pass wide to Cruz, who took a touch and blasted a right-footed shot that banked in off the far post.
Houston peppered D.C. goalkeeper Troy Perkins in the first half with nine shots, forcing four saves. The Dynamo finished with a 16-7 edge in shots and a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal.
The Dynamo all but put the game away in the second half when Danny Cruz picked up the ball at midfield and fed Luis Landín down the right sideline. Landín crossed into the penalty area, where Dominic Oduro rifled a one-time half-volley to the far post for his second goal of the season.
Houston forward Cam Weaver came on as a substitute to make his first appearance of the season after suffering a knee strain in preseason. Forward Joseph Ngwenya was available on the Dynamo bench for the first time this year after receiving clearance from FIFA to represent Houston.
The Dynamo now lead the all-time series against D.C. United 7-3-1, including a 2-0 SuperLiga record, and are now 5-0-1 all-time at home against D.C.
Houston has now played 10 games without recording the same result in any consecutive games; they have followed each of their four losses with a win.
Two Dynamo players set age milestones while making their first career MLS regular season starts. At 20 years, 139 days, midfielder Danny Cruz became the youngest player in Dynamo history to start a game, surpassing Stuart Holden (21 years, 8 days) from August 9, 2006. He also became the youngest Houston player to score, assist, and play 90 minutes. At 25 years, 10 days, goalkeeper Tally Hall became the youngest goalkeeper to appear, start, play 90 minutes, and record a win and a shutout for the Dynamo, surpassing Zach Wells (26 years, 97 days), who played his youngest game on June 3, 2007.
Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad missed the match while on duty with the Canadian national team, ending his streak of 51 consecutive MLS starts (regular season and playoffs); his last missed start was September 7, 2008, while on national team duty.
In other milestones for Houston, midfielder Brian Mullan made his 220th career MLS regular season start and 155th start for the Dynamo in all competitions; midfielder Brad Davis played in the 205th MLS regular season game of his career; and defender Mike Chabala made his 40th appearance for the club in all competitions.
The Dynamo played without forward Brian Ching (U.S. national team); midfielder Geoff Cameron (PCL surgery); defenders Andrew Hainault (Canada national team) and Adrian Serioux (personal); and goalkeeper Pat Onstad (Canada national team).
DYNAMO HEAD COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR
On the game …
“A lot of positives to come out from tonight. Two good starts by Tally and Danny, and more importantly the win. Some teams jumped ahead of us in the standings, and this is the time to keep pace. The first 20 minutes we were excellent; good tempo, and the heat kind of grabbed both teams for a bit. Overall, I’m just happy with the way we played tonight.”
On Tally Hall …
“I thought he did pretty well. He made some good saves. There was a play in the first half, when they ripped the ball across the box, and he made a touch on it before the D.C. guys got there. It was a brave save from him. Any time you get a shutout and you get some saves, I think you’ve had a good night.”
On Danny Cruz …
“I thought he had a good second half against Salt Lake, he’s been training well, and I just felt he deserved a chance to start and play from the beginning. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, and I think he took full opportunity and looked dangerous from the beginning.”
On Luis Landín …
“Overall when he holds the ball up, he is a pretty good player for us. Him and Dom [Oduro] are forming a pretty good partnership for us. The more consistent they are holding the ball, the more dangerous they are, and Luis is very good in tight spaces.”
DYNAMO MIDFIELDER DANNY CRUZ
On the game …
“It’s great for me. I’m more happy for the team; we needed that win. It was real important to get three points and jump up the table depending on all the results, and now we have to look forward to Philadelphia next week.”
On his first MLS start …
“I found out yesterday. For me it didn’t change anything. They continue to show they have confidence in me, and it was important for me to come out and show I can play. It was a team effort, and the three points were huge.”
On his celebration …
“It was important for me to celebrate with everyone, because I feel as if everyone contributed to where I am today and where I am going to go in the future.”
DYNAMO GOALKEEPER TALLY HALL
On his close-range save late in the game …
“Sometimes the ones that come at you are even harder to handle than the ones when you are diving. It’s a tough one to handle, and I would love to catch it clean. You are taught to keep your weight forward in case that happens so you can spring. I got lucky, as the ball ended up finding my hands somehow.”